School of Social and Political Science

Research project type

The Culture and Communities Mapping Project

Principal investigator

Principal investigator



The Culture and Communities Mapping Project uses open data and participatory mapping to locate cultural and artistic spaces in the city. One outcome of this research will be an open-access, community-created map that includes city cultural assets, hubs and flexible spaces of past and present.

The map will be used to discuss and analyse gentrification, arts equity and inclusion, and accessibility to culture in Edinburgh and surrounding areas. Our guiding research questions are:

  • What is a cultural asset?
  • Does the location of cultural spaces have an impact on communities?
  • How can we have more geographically diverse cultural spaces in Edinburgh?

The data will be used for research and policy making purposes by scholars of the cultural sector, the Edinburgh Council and Festivals.

Research methods and activities

In the first phase of the project, we have gathered data by hosting three public participatory cultural mapping workshops and conducting mapping exercises as guests at four community arts events, between February and July 2019.

At these events we ask participants to locate cultural spaces, about the value and significance of a diverse range of city venues and about the challenges and opportunities of supporting cultural space. In total we reached approx. 100 participants.

In the second phase, the map will become a public asset on a website, where users can continue to suggest spaces of importance and can download and analyse the data.


Research (September - December 2018)

Located, cleaned and aggregated existing cultural, geographic, and socioeconomic data from the Council, Scotland open data, and scraped from the web.#

Participatory workshops (January - July 2019)

Drawing on ELL and Council contacts, we recruited participants and invite the general public to attend 3 co-design events. We also were invited to bring the map to 4 arts events at Creative Circles Leith, Summerhall TechCube, the Edinburgh Sculptures Workshop, and North Edinburgh Arts.

Web design (August 2019 – February 2020)

We are continuing data collection and cleaning. We are also working with a team to generate a web prototype to be user tested by representatives from the University, Council, and cultural sector.

Launch (March 2020)

The map launched online.

We plan to host a public arts datathon that invites people to use the map and download and analyse the data. We also plan to publish a research article about the project.


Aug 2018 - Ongoing

Further information

Please check back for details of upcoming events.